Honoring Service on Veterans Day

Liberty Memorial in Kansas City

What we now call Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. Throughout Missouri, the United States, and the world, we take time on this date to remember and honor our military veterans, those who survived and those who didn’t, past and present.

In 1926, the United States Congress passed a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge issue a proclamation calling for the Flag of the United States of America be lowered to half-staff on all government buildings at the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month; and further, to invite all citizens to reverently observe that time in schools, businesses and churches. The hour and date are significant because they mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I – the “war to end all wars.”

It was not until 1938 that Congress passed a bill mandating every November 11 “. . . shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace . . . hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.” By Act of Congress, May 1954, the name of the commemoration was changed to Veterans Day. In signing the bill into law, President Eisenhower explained the name was changed so as to honor the service men and women of all of America’s wars.

(The United States government has declared the official spelling to be without an apostrophe: Veterans Day.)

On Veterans Day, Missourians can honor our country’s military heroes at numerous sites, such as the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, in St. Louis; the National Military Heritage Museum, in St. Joseph; the Veterans Memorial Museum, in Branson; and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, in Kansas City.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held every year on November 11, at Arlington National Cemetery, commencing precisely at 11 a.m., with a laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Ceremonies continue inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans organizations, followed by remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.